Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/686/12822
Kazakhstan: Dictatorial regime threatens socialist activists
"Kurmanov to be jailed?" is the headline emblazoned on the front page of Vzglyad, a business newspaper in Kazakhstan.
It is becoming clearer by the day that the Kazakhstan authorities are preparing to move against the leaders of the Socialist Movement Kazakhstan - Ainur Kurmanov, Esenbek Ukteshbayev and others. It is an obvious attempt to behead the movement being built in opposition to the increasingly dictatorial regime of president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The movement's lawyer was phoned by the police on 14 September. He was told that the investigation into Ainur and Esenbek was nearing a close and that their status had changed from "witnesses" to "suspects".
He was told that the two leaders, along with two other activists - mother and daughter, Kulzhan and Nuosulu Sailybaeva - are to be charged by the end of this month with "samoupravstvo". This is a term usually used to describe bureaucrats or rulers who take power in their own interests.
The charges arise from the tremendous struggle organised by the Leave People's Homes Alone (LPHA) campaign. This has actively defended people when banks have tried to evict them from their homes following repayment difficulties.
The latest case was that of the Sailybaeva family. Kulzhan has several children, and when the bailiffs attempted to evict them, locks on the front door were broken. This, the authorities claim, is "samoupravstvo"!
The initial charge carries a custodial sentence of up to two years. But it is anticipated that further charges will be added, once the case comes to court. Up to 25 other people may also be accused of similar offences.
It is now widely believed that the regime will use these charges to remove activists from the movement and then close down two organisations - LPHA and Talmas, headed by Ainur and Esenbek.
Following the fifth refusal of the authorities to legalise an independent trade union federation launched this year, this will mean that all legal avenues of working to organise opposition to the regime will be shut off. Automatically, any protest actions will be against the law.
There must be an outcry internationally against this threat. Trade unions, members of national and international parliaments, human rights organisations and other bodies concerned with establishing and upholding basic democratic rights will join in a world-wide protest.
The regime is worried on three fronts. Firstly, it is meeting increasing criticism, even from official and diplomatic circles about the imprisonment of the oil workers' lawyer Natalia Sokolova, the continuing imprisonment of the human rights activist, Evgeniy Zhovtis, and the blocking of websites in Kazakhstan.
Secondly, the regime is concerned that this criticism will continue to grow. At the beginning of October, the OSCE (the post-cold war regional security organisation which includes the USA, Russia and the UK) that holds its annual 'Human Rights Dimension' conference in Warsaw, Poland.
Ainur and Esenbek have been invited to attend the conference where they will highlight the issue of the Kazakhstan government's shameful record on worker and prisoner rights' as well as the even further decline in democratic rights in general. For this reason, the regime is attempting to block two opposition leaders leaving the country.
The stepping up of these attacks on the leaders of the Socialist Movement Kazakhstan is a crude attempt by the regime to prevent them heading the colossal social protests that are beckoning in Kazakhstan.
This is the background of the tremendous strike by oil workers in West Kazakhstan, which is entering its fourth month, despite threats, repression, the arrest of its leaders, and the murder of two activists.
The Socialist Movement Kazakhstan will not lower its banner in the face of this wave of repression. It will continue to build support for the oil workers. It will continue its international campaign against the authoritarian regime of the Nazarbayev clique. It will strive to place itself at the head of the developing protest movement in Kazakhstan, to ensure it is armed with a socialist programme.
The Socialist Movement Kazakhstan remains steadfast in its tasks of establishing a mass socialist workers' party in Kazakhstan, capable of leading the struggle against capitalism in the country, to establish a democratic socialist Kazakhstan, as part of a Central Asian and Euro-Asian Federation of democratic socialist states.
We call on supporters across the world to step up their campaign in protest at the actions of the Kazakhstan Authorities.
Send urgent protests to:
1: Head of the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan - Alina Bulatovna Rakhimbekova
Email: Rahimbekova@supcourt.kz with copies to: Kulumbetova@supcourt.kz; firstname.lastname@example.org
or Tel ++7 7172 747570
2: Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan
3: The Head of the President's Administration
Tel: ++7 (7172) 74 55 24
4: The Embassy of Kazakhstan in your own country.
Please send copies of all protests to KazakhstanSolidarity@gmail.com
In The Socialist 21 September 2011:
Building for 30 November strike
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news